Friday, March 23, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Everybody Needs a Rock
Author/Illustrator: Byrd Baylor/Peter Parnall
Publisher/Date: Aladdin/1985; Atheneum/1974
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Preschool and up

Themes: rocks, play, imagination

Opening: "Everybody/needs/a rock.  I'm sorry for kids/who don't have/a rock/for a friend."

Synopsis: Byrd Baylor's poetic prose is the strong voice behind a young girl who offers ten rules for finding the perfect, personal, unique rock.

Why I Love This Book: Five years ago this month, a dear friend and colleague gave me this book to use in our third grade rocks & minerals science unit. (Thank you, S.D.!)  I feel strongly that literature should be the foundation in every subject, not just reading and writing.  Books about curriculum topics give students a window through which to view a topic from a new, interesting, or different perspective.  Before diving into the properties of rocks and minerals, identifying them, and giving them scientific names, we started with this book.  We used the rules related in this book and each student chose a rock.  It became personal...and powerful.  And my students were that much more interested in the nitty-gritty of geology after this experience.  So... that's my soapbox speech for why high-quality children's literature should be part of every subject in school.

Take a nature walk and go rock hunting.  Follow the rules in this book to find your perfect rock.

Byrd Baylor has many fantastic books.  Why not try an author study?

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. I adored reading about the very persona experience you and your students have had reading this book. These are some of the nest recommendations for me about a story, and make me want to run to the library for this one! Thanks, Nessa!

  2. Sounds great! We do a home preschool with some friends each week, and every time it is my turn to teach, the lesson plan revolves around a book. It is such a great jumping-off point for ANY subject area.

  3. Laura,it's great a book can have such a profound impact on your students and how they view rocks. Is the rock a cave in the book? Am looking at the cover. Great selection for PPB.

  4. Oh, I love your explanation as to why you love this book. It sounds like so much fun. If I had my own classroom, I would want to use it too! (Got my teaching license in Dec 2007 and have not yet been blessed with a permanent full-time teaching job - so now I'm writing again.)

  5. I'm in total agreement that high-quality children's literature should be part of every subject in school. It's wonderful that you strive for this as a teacher. It shows that you see the big picture in education. Hooray for dedicated teachers!

  6. This sounds like a very interesting book and a great way to get kids personally invested in their rock studies. I love your activity ideas too. Thanks so much for sharing this one, Laura!

  7. Your "soap box speech" really spoke to me, Laura! I agree wholeheartedly.

    This book sounds great -- it would be such fun to use with kids.

  8. My boys love rocks! At three and five, I've already learned to check their pockets before doing the wash. This sounds like a great addition to our nonfiction list of rock books.

  9. Hi there Laura, I do wish more teachers think like you. It does help if a teacher has "got a book for that!" in each classroom unit that they cover in class - makes for a very interesting class discussion, one that I'd love to be a part of. This also sounds like a truly charming book. Will look out for this one.

  10. What a cool book! My little sister loves rocks (she got a tumbler for her birthday). She has a couple books on rocks but they are a little boring. I am going to tell my parents about this one! Thanks :)

  11. Laura, this is great! My youngest picks up rocks wherever he goes and just holds them in his pockets. I believe he sees them as companions and probably something more that I don't even understand. Great pick.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  12. Laura...wonderful book for PPBF...but even better, I love your explanation of why kidlit is so important for every subject! I believe that books are a window on the world for young children. :)